Guardian Financial Services Limited
Contact person: Jacqui Gillies
Email address: [email protected]
Contact number: 07713858245
The Digital Insurer Insurance Innovation Award
Liberating Technology. New protection market entrant Guardian challenges the ‘typical way’.
At Guardian, we’ve been helping protect families since 1821 and we’re now re-entering the market with a new look for a new era. The new brand identity reflects our intention to continuously rethink and reinvent protection for the better.
Our brand promise of Life. Made Better. is the driver behind our proposition and service design; to deliver better outcomes for customers by offering cover that’s specifically designed to never let them down.
We have a single ambition – for every family to have protection that they truly believe in. And we believe the only way to achieve that is if protection is sold with advice. That’s why we’ve made the bold decision to sell products only through Financial Advisers.
Our proposition is underpinned by an online platform, Protection Builder. This technology allows us to challenge the ‘typical way’ and offer the ‘Guardian way’. Guardian policies can only be applied for online, removing old-fashioned and time-consuming paper application forms. The online application journey is intuitive, easy to navigate and lets advisers ask their clients the right health questions at the right time. By offering a single question set across all products, we’ve brought innovation to a market that until now has only allowed advisers to apply for single protection covers. This gives advisers the power to increase or add new cover, on the same terms as the initial cover, for up to 27 months from the policy start date. (27 months suits mortgage advisers who typically upsell to mortgage clients after 2 years, plus 3 months for paperwork.) We call this Reserved Cover, and it means customers can easily increase cover by up to an additional £250,000 Life Protection or £100,000 Critical Illness Protection. We believe this type of innovation will support our goal to grow the market – not just take competitor share.
Typically, when Life Cover is quoted with Critical Illness Cover it’s on an ‘accelerated’ basis. This means that the cover will pay out once – if a customer has a critical illness or when they die. This can result in clients being left with no life cover in the event of critical illness claim. Our technology allows advisers to separate critical illness from life cover. That means they can make a critical illness claim without compromising the value of their life cover. We then apply a multi-cover discount to make sure the overall cost of the benefits remains competitive. Giving customers 2 payouts where others offer only one.
Similarly, most providers still offer a joint life first death policy. This means if a customer and their partner take out a policy together and one claims, the other is left with no cover. They may be uninsurable or the cover may be substantially more expensive as they’re now older. This has been popular because it keeps costs down. We don’t believe this is the best outcome for customers – so in another bold move “we don’t offer joint life policies”. We offer dual life policies so each person has their own individual cover. But because they applied together, we give them a multi-life discount. And because both have their own cover, if one claims the other will still be protected i.e. there could be 2 payouts.
Typically, many providers automatically include children’s critical illness cover within the policy. Everyone pays for it in their premium, whether they have children or not, and typically you can only have it with adult critical illness cover. We believe customers should only have to pay for what they can benefit from. With Protection Builder, advisers can flex this cover, switching on or off, choosing the amount and attaching it to any adult policy. That means it’s there for those who have children, but not charged for those who don’t.
Another area of innovation is how we remunerate advisers. Typically, providers offer commission all indemnity or all non-indemnity. This restricts advisers from being able to cover their upfront costs as well as building an ongoing income. We have a fully flexible approach to commission. Advisers can choose on a case-by-case basis if they’d like to mix and match indemnity and non-indemnity commission, and they can choose which percentage for each they’d like to get.
Finally, to make sure claim payouts are outside an individual’s estate for inheritance tax calculations and don’t get held up by the probate process, most providers recommend policies are written in trust. For many people, the process of completing a trust and choosing trustees can seem daunting and complex. The result is that very few policies in the UK are placed in trust. With our new innovative Payout Planner, customers can ‘plan who will receive their payout’ by nominating up to 9 beneficiaries when applying online. Payout Planner means payouts won’t be held up waiting for probate to be granted, and the people nominated to get the payout get it quickly. Not only that, customers can change the beneficiaries at any time by accessing their customer portal. This unique option is ideal for people with less complex inheritance tax needs who are not planning to set up a trust.
We believe we’ve combined fresh thinking with modern technology to offer a serious challenge to the UK’s long-established life insurance market. We’ve already gained extremely positive recognition and awards from independent industry experts such as CI Expert, F&TRC and Defaqto.
We’ve chosen to innovate in a way that should encourage more customers to ‘pay for the price of certainty’. In an industry where trust is still an issue and the market has seen limited growth in recent years, we believe a value proposition that’s easy to understand and easy to sell will create a significant opportunity for growth.
This is just the initial release of our proposition – with lots more to come over the next 18 months. We plan to build on what has already been recognised as an extremely promising start. We hope you find our innovations as exciting as we do.